Lithuanian men’s basketball team head coach Darius Maskoliūnas has named fourteen players who will play in the last stage of the FIBA EuroBasket qualifiers on February 20th and 22nd in Vilnius, Avia Solutions Group arena. According to the main sponsor of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation „Betsafe“, Lithuanians will face decisive battles with the Czech and Danish national teams with previously tested players. Although players from the NBA and some European teams will not be able to join once again.
„The previous qualifier stage did not go the way we wanted and planned it, I told the players in the locker room even after the game with Belgians. Of course, in the last window we wanted to give our veterans some rest and close the qualifiers tournament with youngsters in the team, but we did not fulfil our job and it is up to everyone to finish it now”, – D. Maskoliūnas said about the current situation of the Lithuanian national team before the last window.
Dark horse – Vaidas Kariniauskas
Šarūnas Vasiliauskas and Vaidas Kariniauskas, have not been in the national team coached by Darius Maskoliūnas but have already worn the jersey of the Lithuanian national team before. This time they have been included in the final roster before the decisive qualifiers stage of the EuroBasket. „I know very well what Vaidas is capable of and what he can give to the team. His level in Utena exceeds all expectations and I know that he can bring us many tangible benefits”.
Betsafe-LKL statistics confirm the player’s excellent season and versatility – V. Kariniauskas is averaging a 17.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists and 19.6 efficiency.
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Game aspects and motivation
When asked whether we can expect a significant change in the strategy in the last stage of the qualifiers, the coach singled out not tactical decisions, but psychological preparation: “This phrase is getting boring, but it is a reality – we only have as much time as we have. We will go to game with what we have, but the most important thing for me is that everyone understands the importance of this stage. When you’re invited to a national team, you shouldn’t even talk about motivation, but as we can see from the last stage, we did not have enough of it it. This time we have a situation, where it is a ‘do-or-die’ games for us, so I hope for maximum concentration. “
In group C of the qualifiers tournament, Lithuania is sharing the 2-3 places with the Danish national team. The host, Czech Republic, and the two best teams of the group will qualify for the EuroBasket. On the February 20th Lithuanians will meet with the Czech Republic, that they have won against with the result 97:89 and on the February 22nd Lithuanians will play against Danish national. First game Lithuanians lost – 76:80.
Lithuanian National Team Roster
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